Tis the season to be jolly! The holidays have officially started and the New Year is less than a month away. December is one of the busiest times of the year for many people, with all the shopping for family and loved ones. One of my favorite parts about the holidays are all the bright lights and decorations. But as festive as all the lights and decorations are, there is a higher chance for fires to start during the holidays. As a facility manager, there is a lot of pressure right now to get your facility’s fire dampers inspected and repaired. I’m sure by now you are very much aware of the importance of having your fire dampers tested and repaired. But one question you may not know the answer to is “how do fire dampers work?”
In general, a fire damper works when the heat from the fire causes the normal temperature of a room to rise to about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The fusible link attached to the damper would then melt, causing the damper’s door to close. In rooms where the normal temperature of the room is consistently higher, a higher degree fusible link would be attached to the damper. These particular fusible links would melt at a temperature about 212 Fahrenheit. There are two types of fire damper designs used to help prevent the spread of flames, a dynamic fire damper and a static fire damper.
Dynamic fire dampers are located in vertical barriers, where the HVAC system fan will stay on in the event of a fire. Because they are installed in vertical barriers, these particular fire dampers have a spring loaded design. The spring loaded design is where the doors of the damper have a spring like action when they are forced to shut. Since the HVAC system fan will remain on, the air pressure from the fan will help the doors of the damper to spring shut.
Static fire dampers are located in barriers where the HVAC system fan will shut off in the event of a fire. These particular fire dampers would be installed in horizontal barriers, and would have a curtain like design. Since the HVAC system fan will turn off, there would be no air pressure and the door of the damper will fall due to gravity.
Understanding how a fire damper works can help you have a better understand of why inspecting and repairing fire dampers are so strictly enforced. It only takes about 30 seconds for a small flame to grow and become a major fire. By cutting off the passageways for flames to travel, the fire will be contained to one specific location. With the holidays on their merry way, making sure that your facility is fire prepared is essential.